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The University of Southampton
Health Sciences

Reducing the stigma: students take part in mental health conference

Published: 6 November 2012

Student nurses at the University of Southampton had the opportunity to hear about first-hand service user experiences at a special event this week.

The Inspiring a Generation through Lived Experiences Conference gave students the chance to meet with service users and take part in a series of workshops.

The event focused on mental health and was organised by the Lived Experience Reference Group (LERG). The group is made up of mental health service users, carers of people with mental health problems, representatives of statutory and voluntary agencies in the field, nursing students and academic staff.

The aim was to raise awareness of mental health service user and carer issues with future practitioners across all fields of healthcare and reduce the levels of stigma and misunderstanding that is sometimes attached to this population group.

Topics of discussion included eating disorders, self-harm and personality disorders. Students also took part in a Forum Theatre event where they watched a short play about a nurse on placement within a hospital setting. The nurse went through challenging experiences and problems. The play was then performed for a second time but through audience participation scenes were adapted and changed to reflect how students would deal with certain situations.

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